#Change11 #CCK12 Are there gaps in digital generations?

Thanks to Ana Cristina Pratas for the link on the views of digital natives. A lot to think about the dichotomy: visitors versus residents & digital immigrants versus natives .

Ana says in her post on the Web generation – a re-visit:

What constitutes being a netizen may vary according to one’s perspective and degree of online participation – as in relation to other issues, one always needs to consider the context, points of reference and remember that everything is relative. In other words, some may be considered netizens because they produce and participate actively in social media,  whereas others may restrict their online experience to consuming what has been produced, emailing and participating in social networks.

How would people view “netizens”? Internet to the “natives” may be a place they were born and lived with. But even then some (in under-developed world, or developing countries) are less fortunate than others (in developed world), due to access, poverty, skills, cultures etc. These issues are not open and transparent due to complicated reasons – power, authorities and unavailability of statistics (facts and data), so there are many assumptions in developing those taxonomy or dichotomies – on natives versus migrants or residents versus visitors, especially in under-developed or developing countries, and the citizens there. The need of education of the different generations in the use of internet and associated technology, in certain developed countries could be markedly different from those in other developing countries, where basic, traditional education is still practiced. Is netizens then be a challenge for those people living without access to technology and internet? The urge for equity in education (adult and higher education), personalized learning using technology may be a catalyst for educational reforms and transformation, but there are economical implications when it comes to educational policy and directions.

My interpretation of the article was that younger net generation (the digital natives) has certain expectations and values that seem to be different from those of other generations, the older generation in particular. Such generation gap could create immense tension, from a societal and educational point of view. For instance, freedom of speech, freedom of access to information and to culture, and the concept of openness, would be viewed as the basis of a democratic society. But what about the reality in many communities or networks around the globe? Are there any resistances to changes in the acceptance of openness, diversity? The gen divide: Gen X, Y, post 90s, 2000’s etc. would be interpreted differently when it comes to Netizens, especially due to the difference between the haves and haves not (in terms of developed infrastructure vs un-developed ones) and the use of mobiles, apparently ubiquitous in many of the countries like Africa, China and India, is still subject to certain constraints, due to numerous factors, in their access to certain websites, internet etc. The use of mobiles – like the telephones revolution in the last century, might be promising as an educational and learning tool, but is rather limiting in a formal institutional setting. Why? Mobiles are NOT allowed in a lot of schools, and are considered a distraction to formal teaching, from the traditional educational school philosophy. Mobiles on the other hand could be the FUTURE of education as the research reveals, and this may require a lot of structural changes in order to fully exploit its affordance.

Postscript: An interesting video on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Pictures: Google Image

#Change11 #CCK11 What should our future education system look like?

Education: its purpose is to help people to have the ability to learn how to learn.

What should our education system look like?  Though there has been much changes in the technology since the 1980s, the message as mentioned in the video below is still RELEVANT NOW.  Why?

I have created a number of posts that relate to future of education: here, here, here, and here and in numerous other posts.

What do you think should our future education system look like?

#Change11 #CCK12 A summary of reflection on Theory of Learning – Connectivism

Here is my response to Jaap in my previous post.

A learning theory is a modelling of the learning, and in the case of Connectivism – Networked learning which focuses on learning as making connections.  This is based on the epistemology of Connectionism, Complexity Theory, Self-Organising Theory, and the Theory of Emergence. “Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories” (Siemens, 2004).  As George has once mentioned, thinking and looking at the networks as a whole may not be helpful, but thinking of individual connections in order to explain why and how learning has occurred may be easier for us to understand – and that learning starts and develops with connections – where knowledge grows, with different sorts of learning such as connective, emergent learning. To this end, sense-making and way finding would be the valuable tools while constructing and navigating networks. Stephen’s emphasis on pattern recognition, with growth of knowledge based on connections of entities does provide a holistic model that embodies every scenarios in learning, with diversity, autonomy, openness and connectivity being the properties of such networks. Learning to me could both be natural and artificially constructed and conceived, depending on what sort of frame of reference (model) or framework, system you use.
A shift of reference framework could reveal a different model. In the past, we might have fixated on one model, and not aware of the existence of different models which are equally valuable in mapping into the reality. Following a wise man or woman could be wise. Everyone has however our wisdom – that maps our model of the world, based on experience and knowledge. As a Catholic, I still believe the wisdom comes from our God, Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the wisest.

#Change11 #CCK12 What if the models are right?

In this All models are wrong Keith sets the tone and proposes that all models are wrong and some are useful.

Here are the slides referred to:

Are models right or wrong?  I think models are just forms of representation that may metaphorically represent what work under a certain context, based on certain interactions in the teaching and learning environment, and findings from empirical research or theoretical hypothesis.  Sometimes, these models could rightly describe the state of the art of learning in a particular situation, but would be hard to generalize in other scenarios, when time changes and new information and technology emerges.  What may be a useful and helpful model would always relate to active, engaging learning.

Active learning, is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process.  For instance, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, problem based learning are all useful means to achieve the learning goals, in particular in group learning in schools. The core elements of active learning is the introduction of activities into the traditional lecture and the promotion of student engagement.  Learning, could be centered around engagement and connections under an active learning paradigm.  Is such learning described, analysed, and explained under a Theory of Learning or a Theory of Teaching?  These might have been researched, and the principles coined under both behavioral-cognitivist in classroom learning, and constructivism in group and networked learning in school and community setting.  However, it is based on a Theory of Teaching, where pedagogy is emphasised.

As Stephen mentions in his conversation here Connectivism is a Theory of Learning NOT that of teaching. I have conceived that in my learner blog here.   Based on Stephen’s discussion here on social media, I am reflecting on why Connectivism and MOOC are more likely be based on social media, where learning is the construction and navigation of distributed knowledge (pattern and its recognition) over networks.  Does it explain why teachers and educators who are trained and educated under Constructivism and Social Constructivism would view  Connectivism as counter-intuitive?  Educators are LOOKING FOR an education and learning theory that could be applied in the classroom, but it seems that this learning theory is focused on the LEARNERS in the networks, and in particular the social networks, which are outside schools, classrooms, and the formal education closed walled environment.

I have argued in my previous posts here and here on Connectivism versus Constructivism.  It seems the meaning making as defined in Constructivism (as knowledge representation) is not the same as the meaning as defined under Connectivism where knowledge is pattern recognition and is based on experience and action, with growth of knowledge as the ultimate goal in mind.  Also, under Connectivism, such knowledge could reside outside the mind, rather than just in the minds of people (under a Cognitivist approach).

So, are there right or wrong models of learning?  I think there are only models which would more readily explain certain forms of learning.  In the case of informal learning, such as social learning, then Connectivism would be a useful  learning model that could mimic the learning that occurs in the networks.  However, it could also explain how such learning is translated and “inducted” in individuals, where the growth of networks (as plasticity of brain) within one’s brain would also signify the growth of knowledge and capacity of learning.

Image: Google picture

#Change11 #CCK12 Learning in school and networks

Learning in school – my reflection on group learning and teaching.

Working and learning in small groups, and learning from and with each others had been one of my experiences in polytechnic and university learning, and throughout my teaching for the last decades.  For instance, I still remember our classmates having had to present in small groups on one topic each in every week, and so the learning came principally from the classmates, though the lecturer did facilitate and debrief after each presentation.  Another example would be my own teaching.  After teaching in a particular class in a traditional way for some years, I shared my teaching where I actually asked students to come to the lesson with presentations on their projects they have prepared, based on their work projects for each lesson. Learning with peers online has been a natural emergence, though this is easier said than done.

Now should we be quick or slow in learning? This relates to this week’s session on Geetha’s 2007 article, A Dangerous But Powerful Idea: Counter Acceleration and Speed with Slowness and Wholeness.

On Slow Schooling:

She begins by reading a story by Rabindranath Tagore, The Parrot’s Tale (translated from the Bengali by Palash Baran Pal).

She then takes this story and extrapolates it to today’s world of educational technology and the lack of emphasis on creativity. She asks, “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?”

Here Jenny reflected on the significance of learning with Dangerous ideas for the future of teaching and learning:

She talked of the need for smallness and keeping education local (which is contrary to current moves to scale education through ventures such as the Khan Academy and indeed MOOCs). She suggested a need for slowness, meditation and stillness – an integration of mind and body. Her view is that we also need a disruptive and innovative curriculum. Embracing these ‘dangerous’ ideas will enable our children to cope with an unpredictable future.  It is all about wellness, survival and expanding the inner self.

I could appreciate the way meditation, deep reflection and slow learning (schooling) could add to one’s experience and journey of learning.  These may be in the forms of experiential and authentic real life learning through action and sensing the environment within a dynamic school based curriculum, with plays, activities like outings, rain forest exploration etc.  These could be carried out actually based on excursion, observation of the nature, and group sharing of experiences, feelings, emotions, and stories with the elders.  Does it ring a bell with what I have experienced in my childhood?  Yes.

I think the return to basic is both healthy and natural for children to learn, in an environment built on nature, with plays, acting, sharing, participating all part of the learning, in order to grow and develop with wellness both physically and mentally.  This may rely less on technology (the new and emerging technology like mobiles, computer softwares etc.) but more on the human quest for knowledge, curiosity and sense of belonging, in group learning, and active participation as a citizen in the community.

In the adult learning world, however, these strategies would likely gain more popularity  and traction when one is looking for a deeper meaning of life, where work and play is integrated into a form of “flow” in order to make sense of the technology, networks, and people we are interacting and learning with.

So, I don’t think we have lost all the skills we have acquired when we were young, of being creative, intuitive, imaginative and innovative, only that now we may be overwhelmed with information, pressured to become multi-skilled, and to be like a superman in order to thrive in study and work.

So, may be when we grow older, we would look back at our own learning, and be surprised how much we learn with ourselves through reflection, and how much we learn through technology, and the affordance through technology, and why we are learning this way, and not that.  So, if we are looking for personal learning, then retreating to a place and meditate may give you the perfect sense of one-ness with the world of nature.  However, there may be the down side of sitting at the bottom of the well, looking into the sky, and think that the sky is too small, as a result of the limiting perspective.

Does scale matter in learning?  Which is better? MOOC or SOOC? Is peer learning better than personal learning? Is learning within a school setting better than that of networked learning in networks? Is MOOC a community or community of practice? You are the judge.

I still love the learning from ancient philosophers.  Here is my previous post on what educators could learn from philosophers:

Sun Tsu was a war strategist and a philosopher. He was praised for his great strategies and tactics at war. Researchers often refer to his strategies as the best of all times in the military arenas and have thought that they could be applied in the business arenas. And so his strategic philosophies was often used in business to win over others.
Lao Tzu was a great thinker and a philosopher. He was often conceived as a wise leader, but historians have not been able to identify him. Lao Tzu was anonymous and so no one even knew who he actually was. But his concept of leadership was stated as “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say we did it ourselves.” However, this was quoted in Network Logic as being said by Sun Tsu.
I suspect these may be due to a problem in the translation into English.
Out of the many Chinese Philosophers, the wisest one was called “Chong Tsu”. His most important and famous philosophy runs like this: “Human has a life span, but we know that there is unlimited boundary (knowledge, especially the huge amount of information, and knowledge nowadays) , to use the limited life span to chase after the unlimited knowledge boundary, it would cause “serious consequence – “death”. If you know the consequence, but still want to do it, then, it will just cause “death”. My interpretation of his philosophy is that he was trying to warn people not to chase for the unlimited “knowledge” to that extent, because there are lots of worthwhile things to do other than the mere passion of knowledge.
Another famous story from Chong Tsu was about how to learn. Chong Tsu quoted how he observed a butcher of a cow separated the fresh from bones of the cow. He noticed that the butcher had done it so naturally with speed and seemingly so easy, and so he thought it was due to the practitioner’s practice and his craft in “butchering”. The moral of the story was to illustrate the importance of mastering learning with efficiency based on “profile, pattern recognition and sensing” of the learner and its interface or artefacts – similar in concept to the connectivist’s learning approach of pattern recognition, way finding and sense making.  So, his philosophy seems to provide similar direction to that of connectivism.

I am happy to share more stories of those philosophers with you. Some of these stories were lost in their formal records, but I could still recall them. The genres or themes of those stories have great significance in education and learning, and could be used as a foundation of most modern education and learning theories.

Photo: Google image